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Delhiwale: Meet the scientist with poetic instincts

Ranjana Agrawal spent her entire life in a profession far from the world of literature. Her natural instinct for poetry, however, never got muted.

delhi Updated: Nov 15, 2017 14:15 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhi wale,Delhi scientist,Poet and scientist
Ranjana Agrawal moved to her house in north Delhi this year. (Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

Her fridge is from 1977. Her dining table dates back to 1983. The sky blue Maruti 800 is from 1985. The sofa is from 1987.

But poet Ranjana Agrawal’s house is new. In fact, she moved to north Delhi this July. “I’d been so occupied with its construction that it was tough to find time for poems but, of course, I continued writing.”

In her late 60s, Ms Agrawal has spent all her life in subjects far from the world of literature — she retired as a principal scientist in the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute.

“I received kavita (poetry) in my life as an inheritance.” Her mother, Shanti Agrawal, too is a poet.

It’s a coincidence that while Ms Agrawal lives alone, her first collection of poems is appropriately titled Bheed Se Hatkar, or Far from the Crowd.

The book was published a decade ago, and since then, many of her later poems have appeared in literary journals, anthologies and magazines. As with most poets, Ms Agrawal’s instinct for poetry is mysterious.

“Poetry happens by itself. Many a times they come as a revelation... sometimes they first write themselves in the mind... when I was still working as a scientist, an idea would strike me in an office meeting and I would immediately pen down a few lines on the back of my notepad...”. Ms Agrawal shares one of her poems, as translated from Hindi, with us:

AND YET

Dialogue between heart and body is fading

And yet we continue consulting our egos

Selfish ends are blessed with longevity

The higher values of life have turned into mirages

The destinations are hazy, the journey is tiring

And yet we continue worshipping our egos

All the hymns for peace are forgotten

In memories are sorrows, sorrows and sorrows

Long broken is the bond of eyes with sleep

And yet we continue practicing our egos

The heart is grabbed like Abhimanyu in a trap

Each heart beat like distressed Arjuna seeks Krishna

Krishna, who would show the path to self realization

And yet we continue building our egos

First Published: Nov 15, 2017 13:26 IST